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I’m sure there are many people who have experienced a bad first date or know someone who has. Some of those dates have put us in awkward, embarrassing or just plain weird positions, but ended up being hilarious stories. Thankfully, those stories are easy to access because several “bad date survivors” find comfort in tweeting their experiences.


 Inspired by my personal experience, hearing numerous stories, and Her Campus’ famous “50 Things Not to Say on a First Date” poster, I’ve decided to take an inventory of Purdue students’ beliefs on the worst things to say on a first date.

Get it here!

At first, it was difficult for me to come up with the best questions to ask because some students may have never been on a bad first date, or even a date at all. So, I decided to ask hypothetical questions. I figured many students have an idea of what an ideal first date would be like, after hearing friends talk about their dates and seeing many romantic comedies, or just people dating in the media. Additionally, they likely have an opinion on the qualities they wouldn’t want in their first rendez-vous.

Below are the survey questions:

  1. Which choice would be the most upsetting for your date to do on a first date? (required question)
    1. Comment on your weight/features/appearance
    2. Talk about their ex the whole time
    3. Tell you they love you immediately/make future plans with you too soon
    4. Not pay the bill
  2. In your opinion, what is the worst thing someone can say on a first date? (required)
  3. If you're on a really, really bad first date, what are you most likely to do? (required)
    1. Leave as soon as it got weird
    2. Stick out the whole date & be polite, but never call them back
    3. Sneak out the bathroom window/back door
    4. Confront them
    5. Other
  4. If applicable, what is the worst thing that has happened to you on a first date? (not required)

Using the random sampling method, 100 Purdue Students were surveyed. Here are the results:

Apparently, talking about your ex is a no-no. Obviously, the subject may come up in the future. I mean, keeping your entire past to yourself may be a little weird, but remember that talking about your failed relationships may not be the best thing to bring up on a first date. If your date does bring it up, answer their questions but be sure to direct the focus back to them. It’s important that your date knows that you’re excited to be out with them and your ex is an ex for a reason. The next time you’re heading out to meet someone for the first time, make sure to avoid talking about your ex.

The second thing to avoid is commenting on your date’s appearance. This, to me, is a no-brainer. Unless you are complimenting your date, don’t talk about their appearance. You probably shouldn’t mention how fat they look in that dress, or how bad their facial hair is. Just remember the saying “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

This graph surprised me a little. Over 77 percent of students said they would stick out the whole date! Depending on the degree of badness, I would probably just leave as soon as it got weird. Maybe Purdue is just full of polite people.

For my free response questions, we had a variety of answers. Some of the best are featured below.In your opinion, what is the worst thing someone can say on a first date?

“We should get matching tattoos.”                  “I’m in love with someone else.”

"Can I lick, smell or see your feet?"               “Yeah I've taken a couple of girls here before too.”

“My ex was better.”                                        “My ex used to wear that shirt all the time when we dated!”

“I want to get fat.”                                          “You're not like other girls. You should lose some weight.”

“Anything along the lines of "you'd be prettier if---"  ...or telling you they're doing this just to make their significant other jealous...”

For their sake, I hope no one has actually heard any of those on a date!

If applicable, what is the worst thing that has happened to you on a first date?

“....he showed up late, and then left early with no explanation.”   

“I was proposed to.”

“I threw up in the bathroom and told him my dog was being rushed to the vet.”

“A boy wrote me a short story with my name in it. And then post-date sent me a video of the origin of kissing (fun fact: birds ate out of each other's mouths, this led to kissing) when we hadn't even done so much as held hands. It was an experience.”

“At first the date was going great! Eventually I asked him about what he wanted to do in the future and he said he wanted to be a doctor so I asked him if he was in premed. He proceeded to tell me he wasn't actually in college and just liked to hang out around campus to meet beautiful women ("like yourself" -ew-) and he couldn't get into Purdue because he went to jail a year ago for streaking in public (omg). Then he reached his hand across the table to touch my hand and saying, "I know we just met, but I can really see us getting arrested together."

“He had a foot fetish! He wanted to lick my feet! I swear my feet were the only thing he cared about!”

“My date left halfway through a movie because "his cows got out."”

“A girl told me about when she freaked out on her ex and wrecked his car.”

Here are some of the more unfortunate responses:

“I left my wallet.”

“He took me to Taco Bell and thought that meant he was entitled to sex afterward. When I informed him otherwise, he told me to walk home.”

“A guy dumped his drink on me and then was so embarrassed he never apologized or even offered to help clean up the mess on the table, much less me.”

“I paid for my date's ice cream and he threw the whole thing away without eating any of it.”

After all of my research, I hope it will help all of you in your future dating endeavors. Make sure to stay away from talking about your ex and your date’s appearance (unless its positive, of course). Try your best not to make your date uncomfortable and avoid doing all of the free response answers. If you do happen to have a bad first date, stick it out. Who knows? You might get a free drink. All in all, though, it’s important to be yourself and enjoy dating in college while you can. It won’t last forever!

Happy dating collegiettes!!

Have you had any bad first dates? We’d love to hear what you think, take the survey here!

As a sophomore at Purdue University, Abi is pursing a psychology degree with a concentration in I/O Psychology. On campus, she is a writer for Her Campus Purdue, an active member of Zeta Tau Alpha, and the secretary for the Odin Finance Club. When she isn't spending time with her sisters or doing homework, you'll probably catch her binge-watching The Office or Parks and Recreation on Netflix, working the night-shift at First Street Towers, or obsessing over the latest fashion trends. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @abicheerleader!
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